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Most Canterbury schools today reopened after the September 4 magnitude 7.1 earthquake.

The Ministry of Education has published a list showing the status of schools in the region.

The majority opened this morning after a week of disruption caused by the devastating earthquake and subsequent aftershocks.

However, Avonside Girls' High School, Christchurch East School, Linwood College, St Bedes College and Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti remain closed to students until tomorrow.

Discovery One School and St Bernadette's School plan to reopen on Wednesday. Halswell School will also open on Wednesday but at a temporary location.

Waitaha Learning Centre intends to reopen on Thursday and St Paul's School in Dallington remains closed until further notice.

Alternative arrangements

Visiting Halswell School on Friday, Education Minister Anne Tolley said a number of schools would need alternative arrangements for their pupils.

"The priority is to get as many schools open as safely and as quickly as we can. There are a number of schools now that we can't get open on Monday, there's no way that they can," Mrs Tolley said.

"It's heart-breaking it really is, we have to make other arrangements for the children, including relocation."

Mrs Tolley said officials relocating pupils were trying to keep to keep pupils from the same schools together as much as possible.

Mrs Tolley said the Ministry of Education was working with the schools and teachers so that they would know how to deal with traumatised children.

"The schools have many traumatised staff as well, we have to take this slowly and carefully."

Aftershocks continue

As of 10am, six aftershocks had hit the Canterbury region today, according to the GNS Science website.

The largest two measured 4.1 on the Richter scale - one hitting 10km south-east of Darfield at 9.05am, the other 20km south-west of Christchurch at 7.54am.

Trauma counsellors

Ten Australian trauma counsellors are due to arrive in Christchurch today.

The counsellors, from the Salvation Army, were part of an initiative to combat suicide and depression in rural Australian and provided support after devastating bushfires in Victoria last year.

Salvation Army spokesman Major Robbie Ross said many people in Canterbury needed someone to talk to, and Federated Farmers had asked for support for distressed farmers.

"The Australian culture is similar to our own - this is an important consideration in accessing additional trauma support after domestic emergencies," he said.

"A counsellor can help them process feelings about what they have been through and gain perspective on any fears they may hold about the future."

Twelve Salvation Army counsellors have been on duty in Christchurch since the quake hit on September 4.

Recovery legislation

Prime Minister John Key this morning said new legislation to set up an earthquake recovery commission and enable repairs to be done more quickly will be passed by Parliament tomorrow.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee yesterday he and Environment Minister Nick Smith would present a joint Cabinet paper to colleagues to consider.

"That will scope out the reconstruction legislation and will have a proposal in it for a reconstruction commission," he said.

"This has been discussed with all of the district councils and they have had a hand in writing of that bill."

The commission would be able to make long term repair plans - for example, some pipe reconnections were not permanent solutions.

Mr Key said the commission would include the mayors of the three affected areas.

"We want to deal with one entity... I think it's easier to bind them all together," he told Newstalk ZB.

Mr Key previously indicated that the legislation could include the ability to grant building consents retrospectively to get work under way.

Today he told Breakfast on TV One that it would be good for the region to lift the state of emergency and the legislation was needed so progress did not stall when that was done.

"So that's going to be passed, hopefully Tuesday, under urgency... It gives... ministers and Cabinet the ability to make calls and do things much more quickly."

Waimakiriri Mayor Relief Fund

Meanwhile, Environment Canterbury this morning said the Waimakiriri Mayoral Relief Fund had been virtually depleted.

Around 300 residents of Kaiapoi and surrounding towns had received immediate cash grants of up to $500 per applicant, the council said.

The fund was supported by donations including one of $100,000 from Mainpower.

- NZPA and NZ HERALD STAFF